Day 3- First All IndyCar Practice Coming Up This Month - Target Chip Ganassi Racing has three entries submitted for the 89th running of the prestigious Indianapolis 500 with drivers Scott Dixon, Darren Manning and rookie Ryan Briscoe.
Day 3- First All IndyCar Practice
Coming Up This Month - Target Chip Ganassi Racing has three entries submitted for the 89th running of the prestigious Indianapolis 500 with drivers Scott Dixon, Darren Manning and rookie Ryan Briscoe. Qualifying is set to take place on the 2.5 mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway this Saturday, May 14th (Pole Day) from 12 to 6 pm EDT.
Day 3-First All IndyCar Practice - Darren Manning and Ryan Briscoe took to the track aboard their Toyota Panoz while Scott Dixon continued to test out the Dallara. The newly repaved track and a year of engine development helped add more speed to practice at Indy as 12 cars topped last year's pole speed (four-lap average of 222.024 mph). The #33 Target Toyota was the fastest of the 3 Target cars as rookie Ryan Briscoe was atop the leaderboard with an hour left in practice with a speed 225.266 mph (lap 43). Dan Wheldon knocked Briscoe off the perch and set the fastest speed of the day at 226.808 mph. The #10 Target Toyota of Darren Manning was 17th and Scott Dixon's #9 Target Toyota was 31st.
Scott Dixon #9 Target Toyota Dallara -
"It was great to get back out there and in the car. We're still trying to get to know the Dallara chassis and accumulate as much data as possible but unfortunately we didn't get much running time in Japan. There's a huge amount of grip out there and that makes it more fun. There's a lot of work to be done in the next few days and the Target team is up for the challenge."
The 2003 IndyCar Series Champion will make his third attempt at victory at the Indianapolis 500 May 29th at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Last year, Dixon started 13th and was the highest finishing Toyota with an eighth place finish. In 2003, Dixon qualified fourth as a rookie and led 15 laps. He is the third driver from New Zealand to compete in the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing". Fellow Kiwi Denis Hulme placed fourth in both the 1967 and '68 Indy 500s, and was named the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year in '67. Hulme competed in two more Indianapolis 500 races, the final one for New Zealand's Bruce McLaren's team in 1971. Another New Zealander, Graham McRae was also named Indy 500 Rookie of the Year in his only appearance in 1973. This season Dixon is paired up with chief engineer, Eric Bretzman and crew chief Sean Hanrahan.
Darren Manning #10 Target Toyota Panoz-
"We had a good first day with not too much running but that was the plan." said Manning. "We did some set up work this morning and ran on our own without the draft for some qualifying type runs in the afternoon. The wind was a bit of a factor but all the times were pretty close in terms of lap times. It was certainly faster this year than last with a season of development by the engine manufacturers since the changes last year. The track was faster too after the grinding they did and it has a lot of grip. It should prove to be interesting for qualifying on Saturday."
Manning will attempt his second career start after qualifying 15th in 2004 and credited with a 25th place finish after an unfortunate accident involving a backmarker on lap 104. This year Manning hopes to end his country's nearly 40-year drought in the Indianapolis 500. The last Indy 500 winner from Great Britain was Graham Hill, who beat his Lotus teammate Jim Clark in 1966. Bill Pappas will once again be chief engineer for the #10 Target Toyota Panoz along with crew chief Dave Higuera.
Ryan Briscoe #33 Target Toyota Panoz -
"I'm pretty satisfied with our day and the car feels good," said Briscoe. "We were quickest there for a bit and we know we are heading in the right direction. We'll be changing engines tonight and I expect we'll be even faster tomorrow. There were a lot of cars running today and there's more rubber being laid down so it'll just get faster throughout the week I think."
Briscoe will make his first attempt at an appearance at the Indianapolis 500 at the helm of the #33 Target Pioneer Toyota Panoz. Eight rookies have won the prestigious race including Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Juan Montoya in 2000. Briscoe hopes to be next on that list. He will also be the fourth Aussie to attempt to taste victory at the Indianapolis 500; Sir Jack Brabham (1961, 1964, 1969, 1970) whose best finish was ninth, Vern Schuppan (1976, 79, 81) who came closest with a third place finish at Indy in 1981, and Geoff Brabham (1981-1987; 1990, 1991, 1993) whose best was a fourth place in 1983. Briscoe's chief engineer will be Julian Robertson and his crew chief will be Ricky Davis.
Place Your Bets!! --If you are looking to place your bets on this year's Indy 500 winning car, Darren Manning is a VERY good bet as the past two years, the winning horse at the Kentucky Derby and the winner of the Indianapolis 500 have coincidentally shared the same number. In 2004, Smarty Jones and Buddy Rice both carried the number 15, while the previous year Funny Cide and Gil de Ferran were winners with the number 6. This year's winner of the Kentucky Derby, Giacomo wore the number 10. Certainly a good omen for the #10 Target Toyota and Darren Manning!
The Daily Blog -- Starting May 9th and for the entire month of May, leading up to the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500, all three Target IndyCar drivers will post a daily blog (a web log or online diary) for fans. Check in on the www.targetracing.com site everyday throughout the month to see what Scott Dixon, Darren Manning and Ryan Briscoe are thinking about and doing in preparation for the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing".
Watch it! -- Target fans across the country can watch nightly updates on "SportsCenter at the Indianapolis 500," airing live from 6:30-7 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN2 with popular motorsports commentator Dr. Jerry Punch serving as host. Former IndyCar Series driver Scott Goodyear will offer analysis, and Marlo Klain will report on the latest news from the garage area and pit lane. The "SportsCenter at the Indianapolis 500" shows start May 9. Fans can also tune in to watch the Target team qualify on Saturday, May 14th as ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 will team up to provide six hours of Pole Day Qualifying coverage starting at 1 pm EDT.
Listen Up! -- The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network and its affiliates will provide extensive coverage from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway throughout the month of May leading up to and including the 89th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race on Sunday, May 29. More than 400 affiliate IMS Radio Network radio stations located throughout the United States and Canada -- plus the LeSea Broadcasting network, which provides worldwide shortwave radio coverage, and the American Forces Radio Network, which broadcasts to United States military installations and ships around the world -- will broadcast live Race Day coverage of the Indianapolis 500 at noon (EDT) May 29 with a pre-race show, followed by the Indianapolis 500 broadcast at 1 p.m.